My gray hair is turning yellow because of my curling iron. What should I do?

curly-haired woman has yellow gray hair

  • If your curling iron is turning your gray hair yellow, in principle you should stop using it. And in the meantime, instead of a curling iron, you can use cold curling methods.
  • You should also wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo to remove product residues and minerals from chlorinated water that get deposited in your hair every time you wash it.
  • And once your gray hair is no longer yellow, you can use a curling iron less often than you did before. Make sure you always use a heat protectant.


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 Do you frequently curl your hair? Is your gray hair turning yellow? 


In principle, you should stop using your curling iron until you solve the problem. Because  if you keep using it, apart from the fact that your gray hair will become more and more yellow, your hair will also become dry and damaged. 


If your gray hair turned yellow because of using a curling iron, it’s really due to several causes. These causes have a ripple effect:

  • First, the heat from your curling iron, which acts in the same way the sun’s rays would, changes the color of your hair.
  • Second, chlorinated water contains minerals, such as calcium and chlorine, which build up in the hair.
  • Third, you may be using purple shampoo or toner to tone down gray hair.


If we put all these variables into the same equation, the result will be as follows:


hairstylist curling gray hair that turns yellow

That is,  chlorinated water leaves minerals in your hair, including when it’s gray. These minerals are activated by the heat of your curler. But in addition, that heat removes the pigments that would normally neutralize any yellow in your gray hair. 

Therefore, the result is yellowish gray hair. Because gray hair is hair that doesn’t contain melanin, or that doesn’t retain color. That’s why the heat from your curling iron affects the gray color of your hair so easily, turning it yellow.


How to fix gray hair that turns yellow from a curling iron

Let’s break down the solution into a multi-step plan.


Discontinue using your curling iron

Don’t panic. This is only a preventative measure to eliminate the yellow in your gray hair.

curling iron

In the meantime, you can curl your hair with any cold method you like. There are several ways to curl your hair without heat, but I will explain the easiest one:

  • Wet your hair and separate small strands of your hair.
  • One by one, twist each strand around your fingers, and pin them to your scalp with a clip.
  • Let your hair dry naturally and then release the strands.
  • You will have achieved some fun waves without using a curling iron or any heat.


Wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo

 This type of shampoo will remove any minerals left in your hair by chlorinated water. These minerals are what makes gray hair turn yellow when you run your curling iron through it. 


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  • Put a small amount of shampoo in the palm of your hand, distribute it over your wet scalp and massage gently with your fingertips.
  • Leave it on for three to five minutes.
  • Apply another small amount of clarifying shampoo to the lengths and ends and massage. Leave it on for two minutes and rinse with warm to cold water.


Chances are that after using clarifying shampoo once, your gray hair won’t be as yellow. Make sure you don’t use clarifying shampoo too often because it dries your hair out.


ALWAYS use a heat protector with a curling iron

heat protectant and curling iron

 I recommend you choose a heat protector for damaged hair . They provide more protection and last longer.


 Put the heat protectant on your dry hair, and wait three to four minutes before you start curling your hair.  This way, your gray hair will have absorbed all the protection.


If you use purple shampoo frequently, it would be a good idea to wash your hair once every ten days with a clarifying shampoo to prevent your gray hair from turning yellow.



The heat from your curling iron, along with other variables such as minerals in chlorinated water, can turn your gray hair yellow.

It’s vital you always curl your hair using a heat protectant. This will protect your gray color and the health of your hair.

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